South Ribble Borough Council recommends refusal of new MUGA in Much Hoole -after Sport England object

Plans to build a new sports area behind a village hall look set to be thrown out – after Sports England objected.
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Planning bosses at South Ribble Borough Council have recommended that councillors refuse permission for a single-storey ‘pavilion’ building, Multi-use Games Area (MUGA) and associated flood lighting, fencing and parking on land at the rear of Memorial Hall in Liverpool Old Road, Much Hoole.

The area is phase two of a redevelopment plan, following the opening of a new village hall in 2021. Proposals were chosen after public consultation.

Where would it be?

How the site looks now.How the site looks now.
How the site looks now.
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It’s proposed that the MUGA would be located on the site of the three existing tennis courts, and the pavilion would be between the tennis courts and the bowling green.

While no issues have been raised about the siting of the pavilion, planning officers say the proposed MUGA “has the potential to impact on residential amenity in terms of noise and disturbance and the lighting.”

No objections have been received by the council from nearby residents, and Environmental Health has not objected, but has “raised concerns” and would seek to restrict the hours of use, which were proposed as 9am to 10pm every day.

Sport England, however, have objected to the proposal.

What do Sports England say?

Sport England say insufficient information had been provided by the applicants, The Trustees Of Hoole Village Memorial Hall.

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They say a robust Needs Assessment should be completed to justify the loss of the three tennis courts and to demonstrate the strategic and sporting need for the proposed sports facility.

They also want a revised scale plan of the proposed development clearly showing the number and layout of the courts/pitches, car parking and the proposed pavilion building.

They want details of the proposed artificial grass pitch, sporting lighting, and revised proposed floor plans of the pavilion building with due consideration to any potential privacy and safeguarding issues.

In protracted communication with Sports England, Trustees said: “The existing tennis courts are totally unused at present and this proposal would allow the facility to be much more versatile and be made available to more sections of the community.

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"They consider that the information provided may well not be sufficient to satisfy the requirements of Sport England, but the Village Hall Committee are all volunteers and are using their common sense.”

Football Foundation

The Football Foundation (FF) were also consulted, and say the proposed pitch would not meet recommended 5v5 pitch dimensions for affiliated competitive football. However, they say it could be suitable for small sided/casual/ recreational/unaffiliated play or training.

They have also commented that plans appear to show floodlighting columns within the pitch area which would present a safety hazard.

Officers recommedation

A meeting to decide the outcome will take place on November 9.

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Officers have told committee members: “The applicant has failed to provide robust information and details to satisfy the outstanding objection made by Sport England and the clear guidance provided by them. Therefore, the application is contrary to Policy G7 criteria a) and b) in the South Ribble Local Plan.”

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